Do you have poison on your team? Or is it a form of healthy opposition to make the system stronger?

Eric Evil.jpg
Does that say ‘evil’ or ‘Eric’?
I have considered this problem for a long time. I hate gossip, so much of what I have seen in team dynamics gone bad is just the many faces and effects of gossip. Words are powerful and we all succumb to the power of the tongue at times. It gives us meaning and significance to be able to share an illicit story that portrays someone poorly. We feel accepted when we discuss the misgivings of someone pure while having coffee during a break. We all seem stronger when we can create a veil of weakness for someone in a leadership position.
All by the words we use in a team context. But do those poisonous moments also help to stimulate growth in spite of us?
Oh the coffee shop…
Listening in on some adult directors talking at Starbucks after their leader left the table. Wow!! Does your vision solicit angry responses? And if your subordinate leaders talk like you are the enemy when you leave…are they really leaders? Does this process help them digest and contextualize the greater vision, or are they simply waiting for the right moment to watch it collapse?
Do some people just need an upper management-type enemy to be effective in their work? In case it doesn’t work? I suppose the better picture would be a ‘fall guy’ for if things go wrong.
I think about the ‘Canada 1867’ exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights this past year…
Responsible and representative. Those are the key words used to describe a governing structure that would become Canada under British rule. The process brought about some nasty conflicts, some of which became the factions of ‘patriotes’ and ‘loyalists’.
Do we create ‘ patriotes’ and ‘loyalists’ in our leadership? Is it necessary in creating the next plateau of stability as a group?
Again at one of my Starbucks…
A lawyer, a business man, and their wives gather to talk about people whining about the decisions of others. It got pretty animated. Then they started talking about their church leadership with the same tone. Everything they complained about in other people was now aimed in the other direction!
I don’t think they noticed.
Maybe a contrarian view is necessary for growth. But if you are always the contrarian, and you consistently find yourself sneaking around to voice the opposite, then you might be a gossip. Be careful how you wield the power of the word, especially as you lead.

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